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Cruising to the Central Amazon Conservation Complex in Brazil

  |   Brazil

UNESCO World Heritage Sites are by definition extraordinary destinations of world importance, places that are of outstanding universal value to humanity whose cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration, and as such whose conservation is paramount for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. What if you could visit such a place and enjoy an Amazon River cruise? The good news is, with Rainforest Cruises, you can. 

desafio cruise 

Rainforest Cruises has several select Amazon River cruises with longer itineraries taking passengers deep into the Brazilian Amazon’s Central Amazon Conservation Complex, one of only two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in all of Amazonia. Originally consisting of just the Jaú National Park upon its inception in 2000, the Complex was later extended in 2003 to further include 3 neighboring reserves, namely the ‘Focal Zone’ of the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve, the Amanã Sustainable Development Reserve in its entirety, and the Anavilhanas Ecological Station, to form what is now the largest protected area of tropical rainforest in the world. 

Over a staggering 6 million hectares in size, the Complex is a constantly evolving mosaic of river channels, lakes and floating mats of vegetation, home to an array of endemic species that you cannot find anywhere else on Earth, and shelters key threatened species including giant arapaima fish, the Amazonian manatee, the black caiman, and two species of river dolphin.

And it’s not just UNESCO who recognize the wonders of this part of the world. The Complex is also classified by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as both a Centre of Plant Diversity and a Priority Ecoregion for Conservation, and is one of BirdLife International’s Endemic Bird Areas of the World.

Anavilhanas complex

The Anavilhanas Ecological Station is a favorite area to visit among travellers. The Anavilhanas consist of an archipelago complex of over 400 islands on the Rio Negro. Described by some as a “flooded forest”, these islands are covered by hundreds of lakes, channels and very impressive waterfalls.


The islands are home to many endangered species, such as the harpy eagle, jaguar, pirarucu, river otters, giant armadillos, arapaima fish, manatee, black caiman, two types of river dolphin, and the spider monkey. The Anavilhanas archipelago is a prime birdwatching area since 60% of the birds observed in the Central Amazon can be seen here, as well as 25 species of amphibians and 42 species of reptiles. It is also remarkable as the only place where you can see every species of alligator in the Amazon. Because of this, the Anavilhanas can only be visited through certain organizations that respect the conservationist rules focused on minimum human impact and educative visitation.


How can you discover the Central Amazon Conservation Complex and its abundant flora and fauna for yourself? Simple, choose one of the Amazon River cruises below and contact Rainforest Cruises today to reserve your cabin!


Amazon river cruise

1. Tucano Amazon Voyage

The 7-Day ‘Voyage to the Heart of the Amazon’ on board the Tucano river vessel, is a true adventure, taking passengers further into the Brazilian rainforest than nearly any other vessel. With small group sizes, highly trained guides, a talented crew and more than 20 years of cruise operations' experience, such cruises are about as authentic an Amazon experience one can get. Her morning kayaking excursions are also proving to be a bit hit.


2. Jacare-Acu Amazon Adventure Cruise

An 8-10 day cruise on board the Jacare-Acu is an action-packed adventure on a comfortable and traditional riverboat. The Jacare-Acu is guaranteed to offer incredible scenery viewing, wonderful wildlife-spotting opportunities, and constant adventure activities. Guests can snorkel dive in crystalline water, swim with pink dolphins, try parasailing and even stay overnight in a jungle camp! Boat selection depends on availability and the number of passengers. Please note that sister boat, Jacare-Tinga has similar itineraries. 


3. Desafio Cruise onboard a Classic Schooner

The 4-day Desafio cruise departs from Manaus and visits the Anavilhanas Archipelago, the largest river archipelago in the world, and its igarapés - permanent river channels - and igapós - non-permanent river channels. There are plenty of action-packed daily excursions on small motorized boats. A favorite activity is swimming with pink river dolphins while they are being fed. On board, you can enjoy delicious Amazonian cuisine while watching the jungle scenery pass-by. 


4. Clipper Premium Amazon Cruise

The Clipper Premium offers 4-6 Day itineraries that cruise through some of the most bio-diverse areas of the Amazon jungle. This cruise ensures you are as comfortable as possible, while still offering an incredible immersion with nature. You'll use outboard powered canoes for jungle excursions in lagoons, narrow channels, creeks and the flooded forest. 


5. Lo Peix Eco-Friendly Amazon Cruise

The Lo Peix is a traditional riverboat that is one of the greenest boats on the Amazon. It has a solar energy policy, meaning it produces little pollution and quiet, peaceful generator-free nights, allowing passengers to enjoy all the sounds that the jungle has to offer. This cruise takes you to the maze-like archipelago, the Anavilhanas, with over 350 islands, home to manatees, pink dolphins, piranhas and much more.


Contact us if you would like more information about the boats and cruises that sail to the Amazon Conservation Complex in Brazil. 

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About Rainforest Cruises

Rainforest Cruises is a boutique travel company specializing in Amazon river cruises and tours, providing you with the finest collection of cruises in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and Panama. As South American travel experts we have all the advice you need to help you find and book your dream cruise and an unforgettable adventure of a lifetime.


Geri Daniel loved her vacation with Rainforest Cruises.
We had an absolutely fabulous time on the cruise. Thank you again for the trip of a lifetime.
— Geri Daniel, Austin, TX
The Johannson family encounter a sloth on their rainforest cruise.
We had a wonderful time. We were all impressed with the efficiency and organization of the trip from start to finish.
— Jeanette Johannson & Family, USA